Following a few excessively raw and highly abrasive EPs, the UK’s Employed To Serve turned a few heads in 2015 with the release of their hungry—nay, starving and salivating—debut full-length Greyer Than You Remember. Now, with The Warmth Of A Dying Sun (both Holy Roar), they are poised to turn quite a few more.
And I mean turn in the sense that The Exorcist’s demon-possessed Reagan got her head turned. The Warmth of a Dying Sun is a 180-degree neck snapper that will leave you looking down at your own ass in disgust, but also looking for the REPEAT button so you can spin that fucker right back ‘round, baby, right ‘round.
Dubbing their particular breed of music “nasty hardcore” in an attempt, perhaps, to distance themselves from the glut of indistinguishable UK hardcore bands currently clawing up out of the gutters, Employed To Serve are clearly not interested in simply trodding a path that hath been trod before. While album opener ‘Void Ambition’ is absolutely as chaotic and vicious as you’d expect (with riffs that summon Clandestine -era Entombed), you’ll soon find yourself pulled into muddier waters with ‘Platform 89’, a slowish grind that might even have you thinking about early Meshuggah from time to time.
‘Lethargy’ switches the script even further, dipping its toes in the black, murky depths of atmospheric Doom for a good two minutes before erupting into something a bit more familiar. The track soon circles back around to a sick, down-tuned single-string riff that transitions perfectly into ‘I Spend My Days (Wishing Them Away)’, a song that takes djent and Pantera and Sick Of It All and Neurosis and throws it all in a blender until the bloody chunks become, well, more pink than red, but still goddamn chunky.
It is the majestic closer ‘Apple Tree’ that really sets EtS apart from any other band in the genre. Imagine the best of The Gathering, the most morose of Cathedral, hints of Green Carnation . . . and you still won’t even be close.
But you, with your head spun round, you’ll want to hear The Warmth of a Dying Sun again. And you will be very excited to hear what Employed to Serve does next.